Camera : Kodak EasyShare C195
Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers) flowering in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) – See the bee right on top?
Red-hot pokers are grown in temperate gardens around the world. Ranging in colour from reds, oranges through yellow to lime green and cream, numerous cultivars and hybrids have been developed from species originating in South Africa. Most species of Kniphofia are evergreen while a few are deciduous and sprout again in the early summer. They bear dense, erect spikes (elongated inflorescence with stalkless flowers) above the level of the leaves in either winter or summer depending on the species.The small, tubular flowers are produced in shades of red, orange, yellow and cream.
These flowers are frequented by nectar-feeding birds such as Sunbirds and Sugarbirds and every year I look forward to the Black Sunbird and his wife (Chalcomitra amethystina – Amethyst sunbird – Swartsuikerbekkie), who spend most of the day visiting from flower to flower. They also attract a great variety of insects. The flowers of some species of Kniphofia are reportedly used as a minor food and apparently taste like honey. K. parviflora is reported to have been made into a traditional snake repellent. K. rooperii and K. laxiflora are used traditionally as a medicine. An infusion of the roots is used to relieve or treat the symptoms of certain chest disorders.